I was anxious to go to this seminar for many reasons including a desire to see just how far women have come in their interest in motorsports. I had read Mad for Speed, the Racing Life of Joan Newton Cuneo, which covered her automobile racing career from 1905 to 1915. A time period when women were definitely not welcome in the sport of car racing.
Today there are far more women in motorsports with far less obstacles to their participation, but they still are a minority.
This seminar featured several women that have found out how to live their dream in the motorsports world. Lyn St.James, former Indycar driver and the 1992 Indy 500 rookie of the year was there, along with Jessi Combs – a professional driver and well known fabricator and television personality. Jennifer LaFever, RoushYates engines quality assurance manager, along with Jeanette DesJardins who founded Car Chix and Crank It Media.
Lyn spoke at length about her entrance into racing and how she stayed focused on what she had to accomplish rather than looking for obstacles. I liked her attitude, realizing that nothing that is important to you is easy to achieve and that there is always a lot of learning along the way.
Jessi Combs also had an interesting comment saying that it took her a while to realize that she could be what she wanted to be in the motorsports world. The implication being that she was inhibited by the fact she was a girl and maybe there was no path for her to reach her dreams. She said that by the time she was seventeen she knew that she had to make her own path and has worked hard ever since to learn what she needed to support her career dreams.
Jennifer LaFever moved from California to North Carolina and found her spot in the racing industry with Roush Yates. She studied hard and got the engineering training that opened the door for her. She is very motivated as well as focused on her career and also understands the sacrifices that that kind of achievement requires.
Jeanette DesJardins had the foresight to buy the domain Car Chix even though, at the time, she wasn’t sure what she would do with it. A few years went by before she leveraged the domain and created the premier motorsports organization for women.
The attendees of this seminar were very interested in motorsports and were eager to hear the advice of the featured guests.
In addition the audience contained other racing personalities.
The young girl above is Courtney Crone who has been racing motorcycles since she was 4 and has a decade of racing under her belt along with hundreds of wins.
It is not easy for women to get somewhere in racing and motorsports, but then again its never been easy for anyone. Its nice to see more and more examples for women to follow.